Monday, October 20, 2008

In the meantime


Despite all my cloddish ways and everything
broken or turned over or tea spilled
and the serious thought given to mourning
what is mostly water and sugar
and tea steeped a while in its bitterness,
I have been essentially able
to live in this precarious world without
breaking into socially questionable bouts
of fervent clogging or crunking
or whatever the kids these days
call joy. I’ve managed
to never be naked in the startled company
of strangers, except for that one
time I’m obligated by law
and all its bloodless strictures
to remain utterly silent
about, which is no fun, no fun
the way the word laparoscopy is no fun
to even consider. Love, look
at the modest scarring my modest skin
carries like luggage: forgive
me there are no better stories,
no flaming hulls crawled out of,
no eardrums perforated by fathoms of brine,
forgive me, forgive me,
that within me there are
no better lived lives,
none truer or more kind or generous
or at least wracked
with ecstatic danger
in countries no one could spell
or even say. All that I have
left are these elbows,
the same as most men
who have passed through life
without a moment
boiled in rage. And this sore toe,
victim of my lifelong failure
to turn appliances off
without minor injury.
All that I have is what barely works,
holds true to no station
and no song no matter
how piercingly sad,
leaving me to sing the vanished rest
to you, to you, to you,
while the night draws near enough
to think anything might


fortitude said...

beautiful, heartbreaking.

shanna said...

hey paul--seen your STARRED REVIEW in the new Publishers Weekly yet???

here's the link (scroll down):


the unreliable narrator said...

Stars are lovely pointy things. Many congratulations on yours!

Anonymous said...

Reading your poems is like coming home. You always manage to make me remember what I love about poetry, and what I'm longing for. Thank you.

Kwoya Fagin